July 2023 book blog

I finished Babel at the beginning of July, but included my thoughts about it in my June blog.
After finishing Babel, I decided to finish reading Interzone 294, which had been hanging around my ‘currently reading’ list for several months. It’s the first edition of the long running SF magazine to be published in the new format, and for some reason that made finishing it seem more urgent. I have to confess, there weren’t any stories in this collection that made me want to follow up on the authors, but maybe 295 will be more to my taste.

It’s unfair to compare a ‘Best Of’ collection to a single edition of a magazine, so I won’t, but it just so happened that the next thing I read after the Interzone issue was Ellen Datlow’s ‘The Best Horror of the Year, volume 14’. Datlow is THE go to anthologist for horror these days, and this is her fourteenth annual collection. There wasn’t a dud in the collection, but I’ll just mention my favourites here.
To my absolute delight, this collection kicks off with ‘Redwater’ from Simon Bestwick. He’s an anthology brother of mine from the Hic Dragones collections of dark fiction, and his work just gets better and better. This story left me wanting more. Christopher Golden’s ‘The God Bag’ absolutely cries out to be filmed, it is so very visual. I loved it. Gemma Files is always reliable, and her ‘Poor Butcher-bird’ doesn’t disappoint with a story that would fit well in a very dark version of the Buffy universe. Eric LaRocca’s ‘I’ll be gone by then’ somehow manages to be more Michael Marshall Smith than MMS’s own contribution, it’s a story that will linger in my dreams for a while. The last story in the book, Laird Barron’s ‘Tiptoe’ isn’t new to me, I mentioned it in my review of Datlow’s previous anthology ‘When Things Get Dark.’ It’s even better on a second reading.

‘The Red Scholar’s Wake’ by the wonderful Aliette de Bodard gave me everything that I was expecting from this short novel about lesbian space pirates. The Red Scholar is dead. The balance of power of the space pirates is changing, and The Red Scholar’s widow must fight desperately to hold on to the society that she built with her late wife. By the way, the widow is a spaceship, the Rice Fish, and she desperately needs an ally. Enter a young prisoner, terrified and alone, technically gifted and emotionally shattered. Rice Fish sees her potential, and offers her an alliance, a contact … a marriage. Loved it.

I started a re-read of Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ in July, but as I mostly read it in August, I’ll leave it for my August catch up.

This entry was posted in Book blog, Review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *